Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. These arrests fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, even though white people use marijuana at similar rates.
Many of those who are arrested are saddled with a criminal conviction that can make it difficult or impossible to vote, obtain educational loans, get a job, secure housing, or even adopt a child.
Additionally, the huge number of marijuana arrests each year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice, and treatment resources at enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers.
The Drug Policy Alliance works to reduce the number of marijuana related arrests and associated penalties through crafting and advocating for legislation removing or reducing criminal penalties, initiatives making marijuana arrests the lowest law enforcement priority, and community based policy changes.
DPA also works to expose and reduce rampant, system-wide racial disparities in marijuana arrests. DPA has released reports documenting and detailing chilling disparities in New York City
and across California
and continues to raise awareness about the unique burden U.S. marijuana policy places on black and Latino communities
Marijuana prohibition has also caused incalculable violence and destruction
by fostering an illegal marijuana market. Organized crime, drug cartels, and gangs are the greatest financial beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition. In Mexico, illegal marijuana sales
have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.
California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada Legalize Marijuana, As Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota Approve Medical Marijuana Measures
TELECONFERENCE Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12:30pm (ET) / 9:30am (PT): What Do Election Results Mean for Marijuana Law Reform?
This Election Day was a watershed moment for the movement to end marijuana prohibition, with the results expected to accelerate efforts to legalize marijuana in states across the U.S., at the federal level, and internationally. Overall, legalization initiatives prevailed in four out of five states, and medical marijuana initiatives prevailed in all four states this year.
California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana, While Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana Vote on Medical Marijuana
Election Shaping Up as Watershed Moment for Movement to End Federal Prohibition
This Election Day is shaping up to be a watershed moment for efforts to end marijuana prohibition, with five states voting on marijuana legalization and four more on medical marijuana. The results are expected to have major ramifications for marijuana law reform in states across the U.S., at the federal level, and even internationally.
New Report Finds Massive Drop in Marijuana Arrests, No Increase in Youth Marijuana Use, No Increase in Traffic Fatalities, and Major Fiscal Benefits in States With Legalized Marijuana
Tens of Thousands of People Spared from Harmful Marijuana Arrests and Collateral Consequences; $552 Million in Tax Revenue Raised in Colorado, Washington and Oregon
As Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada prepare to vote on marijuana legalization next month, all eyes are on the initial outcomes of those states that have already legalized marijuana. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C.
In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C. passed a more limited measure that legalized possession and home cultivation of marijuana (but did not address its taxation and sale due to D.C. law).
New DPA Report Finds Nearly 9,000 Felony Arrests for Marijuana in 2015, with Blacks and Latinos Enduring Greatest Burden of Marijuana Enforcement
California to Vote to Reduce Criminal Penalties and Legally Regulate Marijuana this November
August 18, 2016 (Oakland, CA) – A new report by the Drug Policy Alliance shows that there were nearly half a million marijuana felony and misdemeanor arrests in California between 2006 and 2015. Thousands of Californians are arrested annually for marijuana misdemeanors and felonies. These arrests are not equal. Black and Latino Californians are arrested for marijuana offenses at disproportionately high rates. In addition, youth under 18 years of age now make up the majority of misdemeanor arrestees.
Agency Removes Separate Research Barrier, Ending Monopoly on Research
Drug Policy Alliance: Next Administration Must End Federal Marijuana Prohibition
Today, the DEA announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana, in effect refusing to recognize marijuana's medicinal benefits. But in what is viewed as a victory for the marijuana reform movement, the DEA said that it was ending its monopoly on marijuana research.
Addresses Most Commonly-Asked Questions About Marijuana Use and Its Effects
Several States Preparing for Historic Votes on Marijuana Law Reform this November
Today, the Drug Policy Alliance released Marijuana Facts, intended for non-expert audiences seeking answers to some of the most common questions asked about marijuana use, its effects, and the rapidly-shifting legal landscape.
Bill is First Step Toward Comprehensive Plan to Redress Harms of the War on Drugs in Communities of Color
As Legislative Clock Winds Down, Advocates and Assemblymembers Urge Senate to Quickly Pass the Companion Bill in the Senate
Albany — Yesterday, the New York State Assembly voted in support of A10092, a bill that will seal the criminal records of people who have been unjustly and unconstitutionally arrested for simple possession of marijuana in public view. The bipartisan vote was 99 in favor and 42 opposed. Over the last 20 years, over 700,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for simple possession of marijuana. Those convicted face significant barriers to accessing education, employment, housing opportunities, and other state services.
New data analyses conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California find that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, following the reduction of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011.
Black and Latino Boys and Young Men at Particular Risk, Despite Similar Marijuana Use Rates Across Racial Lines
California to Vote on Removing Criminal Penalties and Legal Regulation of Marijuana This November
May 31, 2016 (Oakland, CA) – New data analyses conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California find that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, following the reduction of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011. Possession of under an ounce of marijuana is punishable in California by a base fine up to $100 (plus substantial fees).